Monday, 8 March 2010

Me and My Girl

As usual this morning I was plodding the familiar beat, and with a thicker 'crust' on the pond today considered it a little colder, even before reaching the sea-front. Radipole produced very little this morning, and I'm wondering what has happened to deter even the Pochard from the lake this winter. OK, I haven't been here for much of the time, but others tell me counts have been extraordinarily low, my own maximum being just 6.

Pochard (adult male) one of just c3 seen today. A note for the non-birders across the 'pond', this duck is the equivalent of your Redhead or Canvasback.

Reaching the promenade, the full force of the icy, easterly wind was felt and although only about 20 knots it was cutting. The sea was also looking angry and as expected produced nothing in the way of birdlife, so I hurried on to Lodmoor taking a few photos of town features on the way. On the moor the Spoonbill of Friday had been joined by a second, the Black-tailed Godwit remained, while everything else seemed to have disappeared. Never dull, but this morning a little less interesting than usual, there was little of note so unusually I walked back via the Country Park. This area of amusements and attractions has been built leaving much of the original woodland in tact and turned out to be the best decision of the day. A dozen or so Song Thrushes were feeding along with a similar number of their more northerly close relative the Redwing, and there were also probably 3 Green Woodpeckers. These last 2 were both additions to the 'year list' which now stands at 92.

Some of the common British Birds encountered today.

Wood Pigeon

Song Thrush, seemingly more numerous so far this year? Let's hope that is the case!

Redwing, a close relative of the Song Thrush but breeds much further to the north.

To continue the introduction, mainly to overseas readers, of my locale and the second of the 3 Monarchs who have left a mark on our Borough. Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901) didn't so much leave a particular mark on our area, but as the longest living and serving Sovereign ever had a massive effect on the whole country. Arguably the most popular of the line, at her death just about every village in the land erected a monument of one kind or another in her memory, Weymouth & Portland being no exception.

Familiarly know as the Jubilee Clock (standing central on Weymouth promenade) this, as the plaque below states, was erected in 1887 to celebrate the 50th year of her ascension. On the south side it also notes that monies were provided by 'public subscription' and the clock given by Sir Henry Edwards.

Victoria succeed William IV in 1837 and was followed after her death in 1901 by Edward VII.

This broze statue, errected after her death is sited in front of

Saint John's church at the east end of Weymouth Seafront.

and leaping back to George III and his popularisation of sea bathing, this contraption is a 'Bathing Machine'. It would be rolled onto the beach, His Majesty would step inside, disrobe and don a swimming costume before it was rolled into the sea. Once at a discrete distance from onlookers, he would step out straight into the ocean.

Now the final plans have been laid, I can announce that my 'lady friend' Ille will shortly be paying us another visit. She has recently completed an exhibition of her artwork in the Estonian capital Tallinn, where she lives for much of the year, so is taking leave from her employment with UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) for a much needed holiday in the south of England. There is a large itinerary but the pace must be slow and relaxing, so much may go unfulfilled but hope to report through these pages as usual.

I crave a small indulgence to present 3 of Ille's works as recently featured in the exhibition.

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